Kevin Pietersen should be angry! ECB chief Colin Graves should be ashamed for giving him hope with shambles giving the Aussies priceless ammo for the Ashes
- CLICK HERE to re-live Andrew Strauss's press conference from Tuesday
- Strauss announced Kevin Pietersen and the ECB have trust issues
- Kevin Pietersen treated with a complete lack of respect by the ECB
- What a mess for Strauss to sort out as England's new director of cricket
- The problem comes because Pietersen was playing for Surrey having been encouraged to do so by ECB chairman-elect Colin Graves
- He convinced him that slate was now clean 16 months after his 'sacking'
- Mixed messages have now provided maximum embarrassment for the ECB ahead of the Ashes
- READ: Has Andrew Strauss made the right decision over Pietersen?
He has every right to be furious. He has every right to lash out. Kevin Pietersen has been treated with a complete lack of respect by the new powers that be at the ECB who have reduced the English game to a laughing stock yet again.
What a mess for Andrew Strauss to sort out as England’s new director of cricket. What questions have to be asked already about the supposedly fresh, dynamic new regime who are meant to be ‘reconnecting’ with their public?
Let’s get one thing straight. Strauss has done nothing in his traumatic first days in office other than stick to his principles and plan decisively for the future.
Kevin Pietersen leaves The Oval field to discover his fate after finishing 355 not out on Tuesday morning
Pietersen makes a run at The Oval, having returned to county cricket to earn himself an international future
An upbeat Pietersen takes to the field after lunch at The Oval on the day Strauss was unveiled at Lord's
A former England captain who many thought would be a ‘yes’ man has shown himself to be anything but, already sacking coach Peter Moores because of his ‘limitations with tactics and strategy’ and sticking to his guns over Pietersen.
Strauss could easily have been swayed by the maverick’s extraordinary triple-century for Surrey and offered him an olive branch at their ill-fated meeting on Monday night. Instead, he has stuck by what he truly believes is best for England.
He is probably right, too. For all the noise and the mismanagement, there continue to be perfectly valid reasons why England need to move on without the divisive figure Pietersen has consistently been throughout his career.
But the real feeling with which Pietersen talks about his betrayal by the ECB in his column in the Daily Telegraph should shame those who thought they were being clever in calling his bluff and telling him to play county cricket.
The problem comes because Pietersen was playing for Surrey having been encouraged to do so by ECB chairman-elect Colin Graves, who convinced him that the slate was now clean 16 months after his ‘sacking’.
Trouble is, the mixed messages that have been coming out of the governing body since that fateful day at the start of March have now provided maximum embarrassment for the ECB ahead of the Ashes.
Privately, Graves has been insisting that he had no intention of encouraging Pietersen, that nothing had changed with the batsman’s status effectively as the persona non grata of English cricket.
If that was the case, why on earth tell him that if he was playing county cricket and scoring runs he would be considered again?
Strauss was unveiled as England's new director of cricket at Lord's on Tuesday morning
VERDICT ON STRAUSS' FIRST DAY
The suspicion is that all along, Graves and new chief executive Tom Harrison wanted to somehow ‘reintegrate’ Pietersen without actually picking him, so that he would not snipe at them from the outside. That went well, didn’t it?
Harrison and Graves sacked the unfairly derided Paul Downton but at least Strauss’s predecessor had been straight, at least he told Pietersen where he stood and attempted to explain it before lawyers stopped him.
This is the worst of all worlds and all the ECB have managed to do is further alienate not only their record runscorer but the public who remain totally bemused and disillusioned by the whole sorry business.
It is Graves in particular who stands accused. The new chairman, who does not even start until Friday, has had plenty of opportunities to clarify what he said to the BBC’s Garry Richardson on March 1 but has not taken them, leading to the extraordinary scenario faced by Strauss on his unveiling.
Make no mistake, Australia will be simultaneously rubbing their hands with glee and laughing their socks off at the mess the old enemy find themselves in. This gives the Aussies ammunition beyond their wildest dreams, a far more embarrassing scenario for England than that faced by Australia when they dropped four players for not doing their homework in India.
Clearly, it will be on the next four years that Strauss will ultimately be judged but the pressure on England to win immediately with their developing team under a new director and a new coach has been cranked up yet another notch.
ECB chairman Colin Graves opened the door for Pietersen by talking of a 'clean slate' before his 326 not out
Strauss faced media on Tuesday as he was officially presented and he faced some tough questions
Strauss announced Pietersen and the ECB have trust issues that will prevent him returning for England
Pietersen writes in the Telegraph: ‘I am angry and hurt but right now there is nothing I can do about it. Strauss will be judged on his results. Yet I have heard from two very good sources that results do not matter this summer anyway. The job description for the director of cricket job is focused on longer term goals.
‘In essence, quite incredibly, they have all been given permission to lose the Ashes. It is not in my make-up and I know it is not in the make-up of the English public either. Especially for those who have paid a lot of money for tickets.
‘It is an absolute disgrace if that is their mindset. Is this the reason Strauss got that job, because he would accept those conditions? Michael Vaughan and Alec Stewart certainly would not.’
To listen to Strauss in the Writing Room of the Lord’s pavilion yesterday was to be taken back to the not too distant past when he was the statesmanlike captain of England during one of the greatest eras in their history.
It was almost comforting to see him back but he faces a far greater challenge now than when he became captain after another shambles involving Pietersen and Moores at the end of 2008.
Then he lifted England from seventh in the world to top of the rankings and twice won the Ashes but there is much, so much, to do if he is to recreate those glory days again, this time from the sidelines.
Strauss and Pietersen were England team-mates but there has been a long-running feud between the pair
Pietersen favourited one of Piers Morgan's tweets that suggested Strauss should be sacked in a revamp
The order of the day at Lord’s was clearly casual — no stuffy blazers here — and there was neither jacket nor tie for a 38-year-old whose receding hairline appeared to become more pronounced in the half-hour he spoke.
Strauss always seems in control publicly but Harrison was a less polished performer. He looked a bit edgy and nervous and began by making a public apology to Moores for the shabby way in which he was sacked. Things, the young CEO will hope, can only get better than the last extraordinary five days.
At least we learned that Cook still very much has the backing of England and gained confirmation that Joe Root will succeed him, probably after the Ashes.
But there was a surprise when Strauss backed Morgan to carry on at the one-day helm and a clear indication that Paul Farbrace, caretaker coach against New Zealand, will not be considered as Moores’ eventual successor.
England want Jason Gillespie as their next coach, which is now Strauss's challenge to put together
Gillespie is settled in his dual role of Yorkshire and Adelaide Strikers coach but England want him
It is obvious England want Jason Gillespie as their next coach, with Farbrace, who worked with the Australian at Yorkshire, alongside him and it is now Strauss’s challenge to put that partnership in place for the Ashes.
That will not be easy, with Gillespie settled in his dual role of Yorkshire and Adelaide Strikers coach, but it must be easier for Strauss than telling his old nemesis that he will not play for England again on the day he scored 300 plus.
The sting in the tail was Pietersen’s passionate outburst last night and it is clear he will continue to haunt England and Strauss throughout what is bound to be a difficult summer.
Strauss is a respected figure but for him, the stakes have just got higher — as they have for Graves and Harrison, two newcomers with an awful lot to prove.
Pietersen looks on from the field during day three at The Oval on a busy Tuesday in the world of cricket
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